In today’s New York Times, Nate Silver makes a persuasive statistical analysis as to why Mike Trout is more deserving of the AL MVP over Miguel Cabrera. The great Silver, who is on my personal/professional Mt. Rushmore next to Bill James and Sean Forman, slices, dices and even juliennes the numbers and makes a convincing argument as to how Trout’s numbers are clearly, albeit slightly, better versus Cabrera.
However, while I do agree that statistically Trout is the “all-around player of the year,” I still believe Cabrera was the “most valuable,” and here’s why. Silver compares Cabrera versus Trout, I would prefer to compare Cabrera and his Tigers versus the league in the highly pressured pennant race from September 1 forward.
On the morning of September 1, the Tigers had a record of 70-61 and Trout’s Angels had a record of 70-62, virtually the same and each team was about the same out of the AL Wild Card race. From that point on, the Tigers record was 18-13 and the Angels an even better 19-11. But in this drive to the postseason, who was the team’s MVP?
When it counted in September, Mike Trout hit .289 with five homers and nine RBI striking out 35 times in 135 plate appearances while Miguel Cabrera hit .333 with 11 homers and 30 RBI and 25 whiffs in 129 plate appearances.
Expand it by a month and you will find that from August 1 to October 3, Trout hit .287 with 12 homers and 28 RBI, with 49 runs scored and 18 steals with 67 whiffs, while Cabrera hit .344 with 19 homers and 54 RBI, with 42 runs scored and no steals but striking out just 39 times.
I will grant that Nate is right on everything he wrote (and I trust his analysis more than mine), but when it comes to the AL MVP, Miguel Cabrera is his Heidi Heitkamp.